AFC West: Baltimore Colts

A quiet return to Baltimore for Elway

December, 16, 2012
BALTIMORE -- His duties and the tone of the home crowd will be different for John Elway in just his second trip to Baltimore in an NFL capacity on Sunday.

Elway is the executive vice president of football operations for the 10-3 Denver Broncos as they head into a pivotal AFC game against the Ravens on Sunday. I’m sure the home crowd isn’t too overly concerned about Elway’s presence Sunday.

That wasn’t the case the last time Elway was in Baltimore early in his rookie season in 1983 as the quarterback of the Broncos. The opponent was then the Baltimore Colts and Elway was Public Enemy No. 1 in Charm City.

Elway famously spurned the Colts when he was drafted with the No. 1 pick and essentially forced their hand into trading him. The Broncos won the race to trade for Elway (Al Davis and the Raiders were in hot pursuit as well). As expected, it wasn’t a pleasant day for day Elway as Baltimore fans heartily booed him.

Nearly 30 years have passed. The Colts are gone, as is much of the anti-Elway sentiment in Baltimore. Of course, few Baltimore faithful will be rooting for Elway to be successful in his role as an executive.

-- Meanwhile, the Ravens will have linebacker Terrell Suggs, who has been battling a biceps injury, playing against Denver. Suggs’ presence will be especially important since the team will still be without linebacker and inspirational leader Ray Lewis. The team had hoped to activate Lewis this week, but he'll have to wait another week.

It is overcast in Baltimore. However, the forecast for rain doesn’t call for it to start until after the game.
What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Broncos -– for better or worse? Give us your take and we’ll give you our definitive moment May 24.

A good starting point is the 1983 trade for quarterback John Elway with Baltimore shortly after the draft. Elway refused to sign with the Colts, but he was more than willing to go to Denver after the trade. It started a stunning 16-season playing career for Elway, who led the Broncos to five Super Bowls, including wins in his final two years as a player. Elway is now in his first year as the Broncos’ front-office football leader, and it all began 28 years ago.

Another nominee is the hiring of Mike Shanahan as head coach in 1995. Shanahan coached the team to two Super Bowl wins in his 14-year tenure with the team, which ended in 2008.

The drafting of running back Terrell Davis in 1995 in the sixth round is also a huge moment in Broncos history. Davis became an instant star and gave Elway the necessary offensive help to finally win the Super Bowl. Davis’ NFL career was cut short by injuries, but he was a superstar for a key period in Denver's history.

Our last nominee is the Broncos' upset victory over Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXII. The Broncos finally achieved what they and Elway were chasing for years.

If you have a better option, hit Other in the SportsNation poll and let us know in the comment section.